Friday, 26 December 2014

Indonesia remembers Tsunami in Aceh and thanks international community

By Devi Asmarani 

Vice President Jusuf Kalla (left) at UNICEF’s stand at the Tsunami Expo accompanied by UNICEF’s Banda Aceh Field Office Coordinator Umar bin Abdul Azis (second left) and UNICEF Indonesia Representative Gunilla Olsson. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Devi Asmarani

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, 26 December 2014 - Thousands of people gathered in Aceh today in a solemn and moving ceremony to remember the Indian Ocean tsunami that devastated much of Indonesia’s westernmost province 10 years ago today. 

Many survivors as well as local and foreign dignitaries attending the ceremony at the Blang Padang public park in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh burst into tears as they listened to poems and songs that were performed accompanied by photos and videos of the disaster.

Acehnese singer Rafly led the audience to sing along with him to a haunting folk song in the local dialect, and prominent poet Taufik Ismail read a poem that recalled the giant waves that swept about 170,000 people to their death.

"Thousands of corpses were sprawled in this field,” said Vice President Jusuf Kalla at the ceremony. “There were feelings of confusion, shock, sorrow, fear and suffering. We prayed.”

But he said the massive help received for Aceh immediately after the tsunami, which left nearly half a million people displaced, helped revive the spirit of the survivors.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

How the chaos post-tsunami helped Aceh become a child protection pioneer

When a child is accused of a crime, the police tries to use mediation to resolve the situation and in more than half of the case, it works. © UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Achmadi

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, October 2014 – About a year ago, three teenage boys were arrested by police at a sports stadium in Banda Aceh for beating up a 21-year-old man. Two of the boys were 17 and the third had just turned 18. In the past, they would have ended up in jail. But thanks to some far-reaching legal reforms, initiated after the Indian Ocean tsunami, things developed in a different direction.

They were held for 24 hours at the children’s unit at the police station while their families as well as the heads of the villages where they lived were contacted. The victim’s family and village head were also asked to attend the police station where all the parties sat down to talk.

This is a process known as mediation. Police records don’t show how long it took in this instance, but officers say on average its takes three mediation sessions to resolve a case.

The families talked about the situation and tried to come to an agreement about how the perpetrators should be punished. In the end, the families of the three boys agreed to pay the medical expenses of the victim within ten days, or face a court case. The three were then released.

Ten years ago, the police had no mandate to facilitate a mediation like this. The boys would have been facing a trial and a maximum jail sentence of five years. Children used to be treated much like adults when they were accused of committing an offense or a crime. But since the tsunami struck the area on the 26th of December 2004, Indonesia’s Aceh province has made huge strides in how it deals with children who come into contact with the law.


Saturday, 20 December 2014

The long-term benefits of Building Back Better

Students carry  a victim during an earthquake drill at Muhammadiyah 1 Primary school in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. © UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Achmadi

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, October 2014 - Picture this: It’s a Sunday morning in late December in Banda Aceh. You’re awaken by a strong earthquake early in the morning and you know something is wrong.

Soon, you’re running away from the forceful tsunami water that flattens almost everything in its wake. You’ve lost sight of family members, and your only thought is saving your life by getting to higher ground. You reach the top of a hill, along with others, some of whom have been injured in the scramble to escape the water.

Looking down at the town of Banda Aceh below you, you see a picture of devastation. Trees, houses and roads have been washed away. Debris is piled everywhere – sheet metal, rubble, branches….and bodies. You’ve lost everything and you have no idea if or how your family members have survived. All infrastructure is gone. And as your mind tries to come to terms with what has just happened, it suddenly occurs to you – I’ve survived this disaster, but what am I going to drink, eat? Where am I going to sleep?

Monday, 15 December 2014

Surviving the tsunami, creating a better future

17-weeks pregnant and carrying her three-year-old daughter at the time, Rosna credited her survival to a TV programme about tsunami that made her aware of what was coming after the powerful earthquake. © UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Achmadi

JANTHO, Indonesia, October 2014 - Rosna was saved from the tsunami by her television. She had seen a nature programme about earthquakes and volcanoes and seismic activity. When she felt the large quake that preceded and caused the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26th December 2004, she suspected what might be about to happen.

17 weeks pregnant with her second child at the time, she ran from her house in Banda Aceh, carrying her three-year-old daughter Cut Rachmina with her. Although caught up in the water, she managed to reach higher ground without injury and was eventually reunited with her husband Johansyah, who had also managed to escape.

The disaster wiped out most of Banda Aceh, but Rosna’s family was extremely lucky to survive. Their home, however, had been destroyed. They had no water, no food and could not save any of their possessions. In the space of a few hours they had gone from house owners to IDPs – internally displaced people. A makeshift tent became their home.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

UNICEF Activate Talks Jakarta Highlights: CRC@25

Video highlights of UNICEF's second Activate Talks event in Indonesia, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Child Rights Convention, featuring five youth speakers below the age of 25. Watch the full event here. 

Monday, 8 December 2014

The emergency volunteers who stayed to build a community

Elvi Zaharah Siregar teaches at the state vocational school SMK Negeri 1 in Calang, Aceh Jaya. Ten years ago, she was among the first batch of volunteer teachers sent to Aceh after the tsunami. © UNICEF Indonesia / 2014 / Achmadi.  

CALANG, Indonesia, October 2014 – Dian Permata Sari was just six years old when the Indian Ocean tsunami destroyed her home town of Calang, around 100 kilometers south of Banda Aceh on Indonesia’s Sumatra island.

After the huge earthquake on the morning of the 26th December 2004, Dian’s family saw the seawater receding. They managed to run to the hills before the tsunami hit the shore. The family stayed away from the coast for two days.

“When we came back, all the buildings were destroyed, the trees had been brought down and there were bodies and garbage everywhere,” says Dian, now a serious and articulate 16-year-old girl.


Just 700 kilometres away in North Sumatra’s capital city of Medan, Elvi Zahara Siregar also felt the earthquake.

As a newly qualified teacher, the 26-year-old was still living with her parents at the time. 

Elvi remembers that day clearly – the earthquake that caused the devastating tsunami in Aceh shook her house in Medan so violently, she couldn’t stand up for five minutes and water in her parents’ aquarium kept splashing over the sides and onto the floor.

Over the following days, she watched television news reports of the havoc that had been wreaked in Aceh province.


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Tsunami in Aceh 10 Years On

© UNICEF Indonesia / 2005 / Josh Estey

On 26 December 2014, it will be exactly ten years since the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami hit Indonesia, India, Thailand, Sri Lanka and a number of other countries. At least 230,000 people were killed, hundreds of thousands lost their homes and all their belongings, and vast coastlines were completely wiped out.

In worst hit Aceh, Indonesia’s westernmost province, the giant waves killed 170,000 people and left 500,000 homeless. The disaster also caused immense social, economic, and environmental devastation to areas that were already poor, severely damaging existing institutions and washing away human resources, the basis of the province’s sustainable development.

Within 48 hours, UNICEF arrived in Aceh and began the largest emergency operation in its history aiming to ensure that no child would die in the aftermath of the catastrophe by organizing mass immunization campaigns and restoring water supply and sanitation.

Monday, 24 November 2014

UNICEF Indonesia launches Tinju Tinja Campaign to knock out open defecation

Melanie Subono and Aidan Cronin launches the Tinju Tinja campaign in Jakarta during World Toilet Day (19/11/2014)

JAKARTA 24 November 2014 – UNICEF Indonesia, and local rock star and humanitarian activist Melanie Subono are taking the fight against open defecation to the boxing ring through a multi-media campaign called Tinju Tinja (“Punch the Poo”), launched on World Toilet Day.

Largely conducted on social media, this campaign aims to inform and raise awareness about the health implications of such practice, as well as creating a sense of urgency to end open defecation in Indonesia in a new, innovative way. 

During the launch UNICEF revealed that, based on the Joint Monitoring Program report (2014), published by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), 55 million people in Indonesia practice open defecation, making it the second highest number in the world after India.

Indonesia and UNCRC: 25 years of progress and challenges.

A note from an activist-researcher.

Irwanto, Ph.D.
Professor, Faculty of Psychology - Atma Jaya Catholic University
Co-director, Center on Child Protection - Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, University of Indonesia

Indonesia has made significant progress to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in the past two decades but serious challenges remain. To understand what has been achieved and the remaining and emerging challenges, let us walk through the CRC’s history in Indonesia.

The UNCRC was ratified by the Republic of Indonesia on 5 September 1990. The ratification, however, was performed in an ad hoc and pragmatic manner to avoid difficult political hurdles in the House of Parliament Although unusual, the decision to ratify the Convention by a Presidential Decree (number 36, 1990) was accepted by the United Nations (UN)

Moreover, the ratification was performed under the condition that the CRC and its principles were consistent with the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia from 1945 which meant ratification with a number of reservations. These reservations were subsequently withdrawn in 2005.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

“The bed net saves my life”

By Ermi Ndoen - Health (Malaria/EPID) Officer

 Sumba Island, Indonesia, October 2014 - Martinus Lende Walu (48) counts himself lucky. Once he could have died from malaria, like two of his neighbours, but he survived. Since then he decided to not take a chance and to stay safe with the help of an insecticide-treated bed net (ITN).

His village Langgar Kampong is one of the many remarkable “stone-age” villages on Sumba Island, in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province. It is home to some 200 people who live in 13 big traditional houses that surround megalithic tombs, each tomb belonging to a group of families. 

Travellers are drawn to Sumba Island for the houses, the megalithic tombs, the hand-woven ikat fabric, the pasola or traditional spears and horse competitions, as well as its scenic sandy beach.  But all these are overshadowed by the island’s high malaria incidence.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A legal identity for all

Astrid Gonzaga Dionisio, Child Protection Specialist

Mamuju, Indonesia, October 2014 - It was a sunny day in Mamuju. From the window of my hotel room, I could see the island of Karampuang in South Sulawesi, our destination for the day. For the residents of Karampuang Island this was to be a big day: 84 couples, young and old alike, and more than 200 children were supposed to get their marriage and their birth officially registered.

Karampuang has a total population of about 3,300 people - children under 18 constitute more than 50 per cent. Many of them have no birth certificate because their parents are not legally married[1]. Most of the marriages on this island are only performed religiously and then go unregistered.Our journey to Karampuang started at 8 am from the port of Mamuju. Boarding a motor boat, it took us more than 20 minutes to reach the shore of Karampuang. With us on board were the Assistant to the Mayor of Mamuju, the Head of the Religious Court and eight other judges, the Head of the Education Office, the team from the Office of Religious Affairs, and from the Civil Registration Office.

From the shore, we could see the excitement of the crowd braving the hot sun. Most of the couples had put on their best clothes. I was struck by a grandma, more than 70 years old, who was holding a document to have their marriage registered. “Having my marriage legalized means that both my children and my grandchildren will be able to secure their legal identity,” she proudly explained.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Applying Positive Discipline and Creating Connections

By Dwi Utari Tamanbali, Child Protection Officer, UNICEF Papua Field Office

Tagime Village, Papua Province, September 2014 - It was a rainy afternoon when I arrived in Tagime village, Jayawijaya District, to meet with Frater Yakub Yikwa.

As I stand outside of fences that surround his large yard, I can hear laughing and cheering despite the noise of the rain. Inside I meet more than 30  potential village facilitators from Klasis Gereja Kemah Injil Indonesia (GKII) Tagime, a Christian Church, who have come together to be trained on the Creating Connection Module which aims to build a safe and strong community.

Monday, 1 September 2014

UNICEF Indonesia welcomes new Representative Gunilla Olsson

Gunilla Olsson, UNICEF Indonesia Representative
JAKARTA, 1st September 2014 – UNICEF Indonesia’s new Representative Gunilla Olsson has taken up her post in Jakarta today.

She has moved to the country from New York where she was UNICEF’s Director of Governance, UN and Multilateral Affairs for two years.

“It’s an exciting time to be taking on this role in Indonesia as the country welcomes a new government,” she said. “I’m looking forward to working with them on the next five-year plan for UNICEF’s involvement in Indonesia.”

Gunilla Olsson with staff at the UNICEF office in Jakarta
©UNICEF Inodnesia/2014/Razak

Ms. Olsson has a degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Stockholm and has worked with numerous international organisations in the past, including IFAD, ILO, FAO, GTZ, Sida and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

She is a national of Sweden and is married with two daughters.

Ms. Olsson replaces former Country Office Representative Angela Kearney who will become UNICEF’s Representative in Pakistan.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Working together to save mothers and babies in Sulawesi

Ratna with her son Ralvin at the local health centre in Galesong
©UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Ramadana
GALESONG, South Sulawesi, August 2014 - It was ten o’clock at night when Ratna Adam started to feel labour pains. She was at home in the seaside village of Galesong, Takalar District in South Sulawesi. Her fisherman husband was away working in Kalimantan, so the first person she called was Basse Cama, a Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA).

Ibu Basse has been helping women in Galesong give birth for 33 years and is a respected member of the community. She lives about a five minute walk from Ratna, so she hurried over to help the expectant mother.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Sanitation in Alor – spreading the message, tracking its progress

By Sarah Grainger

7-year-old Novianti with her mother Amelia above the beach near their house
© UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Sarah Grainger

FUNGAFENG, NTT province, Indonesia, April 2014 - Novianti Atafan, 7, was one of the last children in her village to get a latrine at home. She lives in the seaside village of Fungafeng on Alor island in Nusa Tenggara Timur province (NTT). The family has a traditional lopo house made of bamboo and wood with a steep, thatched roof where the family sleeps.

Novianti and her mother, father, grandfather and 5 older siblings used to get up each morning and scramble down the slope behind the wooden structure to the beach below to defecate.

All that changed when a sanitarian – a local health worker who specialises in sanitation and hygiene – visited the village.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Punk rock in prison - children dream about life after detention in Klaten

by Lauren Rumble, Chief, Child Protection, Indonesia

In July, I travelled to Klaten district to visit children in prison.

I was impressed by their dedication to learning, even though the teachers allocated to the prison school often don’t come and health services are erratic. The children, all of them boys, dream of continuing their education and leading productive lives in their community upon release.

“I just want to go back to school when I get out,” said Hadi*. In prison, the boys have been learning art, music, drama and practical skills like printing. The boys are selling their work as part of an NGO-supported project to promote their return to community life.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Engaging global partners to innovate for Indonesian children

by Jeff K Hall, UNICEF Indonesia Innovation Lab Lead
Quick question: What do you get when you mix Schneider Electric Country Presidents with UNICEF innovators?

Here’s our answer: Creative arts, storyboards, and video skits!

In a recent workshop run by UNICEF Indonesia with WDHB (Worldwide Experiential Learning for Executives) and KIBAR (an Innovation group from Jakarta), UNICEF presented Schneider’s Country Presidents with a development challenge – the problem of natural disasters in Indonesia, a major issue in this country – and asked the team to come up with innovative solutions for young people.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Check list for a healthy life

By Nova Fransisca Silitonga, Corporate Partnership Officer, UNICEF Indonesia

Have you washed your hands with soap? Had breakfast? Brushed your teeth? Pooed in the loo? Cleaned your ears?

These are some of the questions pupils at Elementary School SDN 69 in Galesong village, Takalar District, South Sulawesi have to answer every morning.

Their teachers ask them to fill in a wall chart to show which activities they’ve completed, and which they haven’t. The exercise is designed to encourage pupils to be honest while also teaching them how to have a healthy lifestyle.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Preventing child neglect and exploitation through family development sessions

By: Astrid Gonzaga Dionisio, Child Protection Specialist

Yogyakarta, June 2014 - When I attended a discussion on child protection in Yogyakarta recently, one of the participants really stood out.

Ibu Prihatin is a mother of three and a graduate of junior high school from Kulon Progo District. She understands very well what is needed to provide her children with all the support they need to succeed in school – and she loves to talk about it.

“We have to make sure they have breakfast in the morning and that their uniforms are clean and in order,” she said when participants were asked to discuss how to prevent neglect.

Ibu Prihatin has been participating in the Family Hope Programme (PKH - Program Keluarga Harapan) since 2008. Through the programme, the Indonesian government provides conditional cash transfers to the poorest families to improve their access to health and education services.

Monday, 7 July 2014

UNICEF, Government of Indonesia call on media to help #ENDviolence against children

JAKARTA, 7 July 2014 – The Government of Indonesia and UNICEF have joined together to urge the media to help #ENDviolence against children by raising awareness of the risks to children and the impact they suffer, as well as showing children affected by violence how they can get help.

The call came as part of roundtable discussions between the Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, Linda Gumelar, the Minister of Health, Nafsiah Mboi, UNICEF’s Representative, Angela Kearney, and the editors of several newspapers, radio and television stations in Jakarta on the coverage of violence against children.

Muslim leaders at forefront of social change to reduce stunting

 by Iwan Hasan

Kyai Subhan at the pesantren in Brebes, Central Java
© UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Iwan

BREBES, Indonesia, April 2014 - Subhan Makmun, known as Kyai Subhan, looks like a typical traditional Islamic scholar or ulama. He lives among thousands of his students in an Islamic boarding school in Brebes, Central Java. He wears a traditional sarong and a black Malay cap.  

But looks can be deceiving. Subhan’s view on Islamic Syariah is very progressive. “Islam is not narrow but broad,” he says.

Kyai Subhan is one of the most revered ulamas in Central Java thanks to his vast knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence. But classical Islamic books are not the only books he reads. He says he’s read “Facts for Life”, a book on child care published by UNICEF in association with several other UN agencies.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Unilever extends support to cut down on open defecation

(c) UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Silitonga

JAKARTA, 4th July 2014 – The Unilever Indonesia Foundation and UNICEF are further strengthening their collaboration in addressing the country’s challenges in terms of safe water and sanitation.

After a first contribution of €100,000 in 2013, the Foundation has now donated €200,000 to the UNICEF WASH programme which aims at ending open defecation and improving hygienic practices in Indonesia.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Improving sanitation – moulding a healthier future for Alor

by Sarah Grainger
The Ani family with sanitarian Tristiana Dewi (right) outside their new latrine
© UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Sarah Grainger

ADANG, NTT province, Indonesia, April 2014 - It’s an important week for the Ani family from Adang village on the island of Alor in Nusa Tengarra Timur province (NTT). Three days ago they finally finished building their new latrine.

It stands behind their brick and wood house surrounded by banana trees and undergrowth. The toilet is shielded from view by a simple structure made from wooden poles and plastic sheeting. But the latrine is among the most sophisticated in the village.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Special delivery: reaching pregnant women with health care in Papua

by Andy Brown
Neli with her daughter and newborn boy in their communal home
© UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Andy Brown
JAYAWIJAYA, Indonesia, June 2014 - Neli Kogoya, 23, sits on the floor of a communal house that she shares with two other families. She cradles a two-week old baby wrapped in a blanket on her lap, while a nurse checks her blood pressure. It is election season and convoys of trucks pass by outside, broadcasting campaign messages through megaphones.

The house is in Sapalek village in Jayawijaya, a remote mountainous region of Papua. Neli works here as a caterer, while her husband is away studying. She has two children – a girl Yosiana, who is nearly two years old, and baby boy Eliup, who was born just two weeks ago.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Children in Makassar speak out on violence

by Lauren Rumble, Chief, Child Protection, UNICEF Indonesia

Michelin is 17 years old and is the President of the Child Forum in Makassar. I met her in May this year on my first visit to Makassar, along with other leaders of the Forum, and I asked them about their opinions on violence against children in the city.

She believes that violence against children, especially child trafficking and sexual violence against children living and working on the streets are major concerns for Makassar’s children.

“Not enough is being done about these issues,” she says.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Ferry Salim celebrates 10 years with UNICEF

by Sarah Grainger

Ferry Salim on a trip to Aceh with UNICEF in 2012. 
© UNICEF Indonesia/2012

JAKARTA, Indonesia, June 2014 - Actor, model and entrepreneur Ferry Salim is celebrating 10 years as UNICEF Indonesia’s National Ambassador.

It was June 2004, when UNICEF approached him and asked him if he would be prepared to work as an advocate for children’s rights.

A father of three children, he readily agreed.

Just six months later, the Indian Ocean tsunami struck northern Sumatra as well as Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and many other countries, leaving 230,000 people dead.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Sports for Development

Millions of eyes will be on Brazil this week when the international footballing elite meet for the World Cup finals. Football is hugely popular in many countries and there’s no doubt that sport is a unifying force. But not every child has access to physical education, games and sports. In Indonesia, traditionally most schools do not consider physical education a priority. Children with special needs are often unable to take part in the sports on offer. And many teachers think cleaning or gardening are adequate “sports” for girls.

Playing sports and games is good for children’s health. It also teaches skills like team work and improves speed, agility and perception. Four years ago, UNICEF, in cooperation with the Ministry of National Education, began work to improve access to inclusive physical education, sports and play in Indonesia. The Sports for Development programme was introduced in one district in each of four different provinces - Jakarta, West Java, East Java and South Sulawesi.

UNICEF has helped to train teachers from these provinces in how to build sports into the school timetable. The teachers have been introduced to games which special needs pupils and other students can play together. They have also learned how to make sports equipment out of cheap, readily available materials. UNICEF is producing a number of materials so that the Sports for Development programme can be replicated in other districts across the country.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Giving Klaten’s babies a nutritious start in life

By Anup Tiwari, Chief, Private Fundraising and Partnerships, UNICEF Indonesia

Pandes Village, Central Java, Indonesia, May 2014 - As the Chief of private fundraising and partnerships in UNICEF Indonesia's Jakarta office, I spend a lot of my time in office buildings - at my desk, in meetings or on the phone. But in early May, I found myself cross-legged on the floor of a huge bamboo building in Pandes village, Central Java, watching a group of expectant mothers play a fishing game.

I’d come with several colleagues to see one of UNICEF’s programmes in action. With the Government of Indonesia, we’ve helped to train a local midwife and several volunteers, known as cadres, to teach women about good nutrition both during pregnancy and after their baby is born. The cadres also work with fathers and older members of the community so that they can best support these new mothers.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Violence against children - it can happen to anyone

By Ali Aulia Ramly, UNICEF Child Protection Specialist

Last week in front of more than 100 academics, civil servants, politicians and experts from around the world, one woman - a high-level, experienced professional herself - ended her presentation by telling the story of how she was sexually abused as a child.
I, and everyone else in the hotel conference room, including a delegation from the Government of Indonesia, was shocked to find out that one of our peers had experienced this and admitted it in front of colleagues.

We were all child protection experts attending a three-day Global Meeting on Violence against Children in Ezulwini, Swaziland. But we had not thought that one among our number could have been a victim of violence during childhood.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Youth policy in West Papua – listening to a new generation

Written by Sarah Grainger 

Melan, 24, and her mother Elvi, a biology teacher in Manokwari, West Papua
© UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Andy Brown

MANOKWARI, West Papua province, Indonesia, April 2014 - When Melan started college a few years ago, she got a shock.

Melan’s family had always talked openly about issues like safe sex and HIV/AIDS prevention. So the 24 year-old from Manokwari in West Papua province felt prepared for greater independence from her parents, setting off for college each day on her motorbike. But she soon realised that not all of her friends had had the same support.

Violence against children in Indonesia – Make the Invisible Visible

- By Marc Lucet, Deputy Representative UNICEF Indonesia -

Last week I had the privilege of representing UNICEF at a press conference given by the Minister of Social Affairs, Salim Segaf al Jufri, on the issue of violence against children in Indonesia. The press conference was also attended by the National Development Planning Ministry, the Indonesian Child Protection Commission and the National Commission of Child Protection. Given the many reports about child abuse in Indonesia in recent weeks, many journalists, both from national and international media attended.

Minister Segaf al Jufri called for a national movement to defeat violence against children. As a global organization, UNICEF is at the forefront of international efforts to prevent children from suffering violence and abuse, and so we welcome this initiative very much. It is exactly what needs to be done.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Discovering Papua: a field diary

Rafael Klavert - Digital Communication Officer

Last month, I was assigned to a small group that would travel to Papua and West Papua in order to write stories about the impact of UNICEF's programs there.

"Finally!", I thought to myself.

I have always been strangely fascinated by Papua. Located in Indonesia's easternmost region, it's a land of largely unspoiled natural beauty, inhabited by several indigenous tribes who still choose to live the "old" ways.

But it also comes with its own share of problems. Papuans live in one of the hardest-to-reach areas in the world, so it's of little surprise that their health and educations standards are often much worse compared to other provinces.

What better place is there to observe UNICEF's work and impacts in Indonesia?

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Promoting better nutrition, a healthier future

Ensuring good nutrition is a major challenge across all of Indonesia, where one in three children under the age of 5 suffers from stunted growth. UNICEF and the European Union are partnering to share information about life-saving practices that promote optimum nutrition for children and their mothers.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Skills for life: teaching young people in Papua about HIV

Yumelina with volunteer educator Nira in the Baliem valley
© UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Andy Brown
Yumelina Tabuni is a confident and outgoing 13-year-old girl. She lives with her family in a small village in the Baliem valley, a remote mountainous area of Papua. Every week she attends a life skills session, where young people learn how to protect themselves from HIV and AIDS.

“I didn’t understand what HIV was and why people died from it. I wanted to learn more,” Yumelina says. “Now I know how HIV is transmitted – through sex, needles and blood transfusion – and also how it is not transmitted. We’ve been taught about condoms and how to protect ourselves from HIV. I’m happy that I have this knowledge.”

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Activate Talks Indonesia: Highlights

Highlights of UNICEF's Activate Talks event in Indonesia, with Anies Baswedan, Tri Mumpuni, Mia Sutanto, Dr. Ahmad Aziz, and Toshi Nakamura.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Photos: Activate Talks Jakarta, Indonesia

Indonesia celebrates children’s rights with innovative solutions to development challenges

By Sarah Grainger

Anies Baswedan takes quality education to rural Indonesia through a social movement with young people. © UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Harimawan

JAKARTA, 24 April 2014 – UNICEF Indonesia brought together a number of leading innovators at an event in Jakarta’s Erasmus Huis on Wednesday to present their ideas on how to tackle some of the key challenges children continue to face in this booming South-East Asian economy. 

The TED-style event, called ‘ACTIVATE talks’, was part of UNICEF’s celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). UNICEF has also declared 2014 the “Year of Innovations and Equity”.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Remote schools: Inspiring Papua’s children to go the extra mile for education

By Sarah Grainger
Lima, 7, makes a calculation at school in rural Wamena district, Papua.
© UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Andy Brown
Maima Village, Papua province, Indonesia, April 2014 - There’s a chill in the air and the sun is barely up when 8-year-old Tolaka and her sister Lima, 7, leave home for school at 6am. It takes them an hour to walk to class from the thatched hut they share with their mother, close to the banks of the River Baliem, in Papua’s Kurima sub district.

The route takes them over flooded grassland and along woodland tracks sticky with mud to SD Advent Maima primary school.

“I’m used to walking so I don’t get tired at all,” says Tolaka. “I’m happy to come to school. I have a lot of friends here and we like playing and skipping together.”

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Indonesia: In one girl’s recovery, an island’s triumph over malaria

By Nuraini Razak

An island once suffering from a record number of malaria cases has managed to eradicate all indigenous cases of the disease, which is a leading cause of death among children under age 5.

SABANG, Indonesia, 19 March 2014 – When Adelia’s fever simply did not go down, she was tested for the second-most-common malaria parasite – malaria vivax. That was in 2011. Thanks to immediate and effective treatment, Adelia, who is now 9 years old, managed to recover fully. But many others before her were not so lucky.

“On Sabang island, basically everyone had malaria at one point in their lives. We were so used to it,” Adelia’s mother, Rahmawati, explains. “But when it happens to one of your own children, I must say, I was terribly worried.”

“In 2008, we started working with UNICEF to eliminate malaria,” says Dr. Titik Yuniarti, Head of Communicable Disease Control in the district health office, “and today, we can claim that we no longer have any indigenous cases on the island.”

At one point, Batee Shok, the village Adelia and her mother call home in Aceh province, broke all records, with the highest number of malaria cases to be registered in a single village in Sabang.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Indonesia launches Study on Digital Safety

"Children may be exposed to similar risks like in the physical world when they are surfing the internet, such as violence and abuse, including sexual exploitation, and trafficking." says UNICEF Indonesia Representative Angela Kearney.
© UNICEFIndonesia/2014/Klavert

As Indonesia experiences a rapid increase in the number of children and young people accessing the internet through mobile devices, the Government in Jakarta is collaborating with UNICEF to ensure that children can make best use of the internet while at the same minimizing the protection risks they may encounter during their online journey.

A key step in this process has been the conclusion of a study on “Digital Citizenship and Safety among Children and Adolescents in Indonesia”, whose results UNICEF and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology launched on 18 February in Jakarta.  The study was commissioned by UNICEF as part of its multi-country project on Digital Citizenship and Safety. It covers the age group 10 to 19 years, a huge population of 43.5 million children and adolescents.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

"Info Bidan" - How a Simple Text Can Save Lives

This video illustrates how a simple SMS based technology, in a pilot project called "Info Bidan" which simply means Information for Midwives, has helped 200 midwives in remote villages in Pemalang and West Lombok provide health care information to and improve their counselling with their community. 

This was the fruit of collaboration between UNICEF, Ministry of Health, Nokia and PT XL Axiata. Thanks to the three text messages that they received every week for a year, the midwives were proved to have enhanced their knowledge. And in turn, they had also improved their patients' knowledge on important health issues ranging from nutrition, safe pregnancy and delivery, to early child development. 

Monday, 13 January 2014

Typhoon Haiyan: How UNICEF is responding to children’s health needs

A volunteer measures a child’s upper arm circumference – a gauge of nutritional status
© UNICEF/Dianan Valcarcel Silvela

I have just returned from Tacloban. I am a UNICEF health specialist and travelled there as part of UNICEF’s global support to help colleagues working to restore health systems that protect children in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolande).

Even after my return home to Bangkok, I am still awed by the fury of the Typhoon, its massive destruction. I am also struck by the strength and the spirit of the people whose lives it decimated. Among the heaps of debris, there are signs that announce “we will rise again” and “homeless, roofless but not hopeless”.